Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
The phrase “Do not judge him from his appearance” from the first reading today brought me back to the very first day of my college career. Within hours after my parents dropped me off and I embarked on this new “adult” phase of my life, I went to hang out with a friend and some other people in his dorm room. He introduced me to a hometown friend of his who had also just begun at our university. I confess that I immediately disliked this person, maybe even despised him. He was obnoxious, very loud, totally full of himself, and acted like he was in charge of everything. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I learned from my friend the next day that this guy basically felt the same way about me. We really didn’t hit it off, obviously. Nonetheless, over the period of days between move-in day and the start of classes, I was around this person pretty much daily, as we shared this mutual friend. I decided I would tolerate the guy, mainly because I didn’t really know many other people at the school, and my choices were to either be alone, or hang around with my friend, and this newfound nemesis as a result.
Funny things happen in life, though. It turns out that during the course of that school year, that archrival and I became the best of friends. We were roommates during several subsequent years, we joined the Air Force National Guard at the same time, and he ended up being the best man in my wedding. If someone from the future visited me that first night of school and told me all of this, I would have laughed in their face and sent them packing. Looking back, I can imagine that perhaps both of us were probably feeling anxious at first, out of our elements in a new environment with so many unknowns.
Have you ever done what I did that first day? My negative judgments were made about my good friend long before I had the chance to get to know anything about him. What if I had just written him off rather than deal with him during those first weeks of school? I can assure you that I would have inadvertently caused myself to miss out on countless good times, and would have lost out on knowing a friend that has brought much richness to my life over the years.
During this Lenten season, try to keep in mind another point today’s reading makes; “Not as man does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the LORD looks into the heart”. Make an effort to see others as God does, and not just based on their outward appearances. You never know what kind of unexpected new friends you might make.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
How has judging someone affected your life? Were you able to get past it, and if so how?
Has anyone ever been quick to judge you? How did that make you feel?
How can you stay humble so that the Lord can do greater things through you?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I am loved by God."
"I am a beloved child of God."
"Love, don't judge."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Make an effort to love someone that you may have judged. Reach out to that person at school, or your friend's friend who you don't really like, and be sincerely friendly to them today. They may not become your new best friend, but they may be someone God wants in your life.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Jim Lundgren, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.